It’s Been a Crazy Week. And it’s only Wednesday!

Big Score at the Big Box Store

On Monday, I was at Walmart during my lunch hour to pick up a few things.  Matt wants to make cake balls.  I have no idea where he got the idea, but he says they are really, really good and he wants to make some as a surprise for his mom.  The ingredients include cake and frosting.  Works for me.

I picked up a Red Velvet cake mix, a container of Duncan Hines frosting (vanilla-flavored in case you’re wondering) and a package of Almond Bark.  Over the weekend, Matt and I looked online for a recipe for the cake balls and I think we can do this.  It appears to be a multi-step project where we have to bake the cake one day and then crumble it all up (along with the frosting) the next day.  I also learned that the balls should go in the freezer for a while before we coat them with the melted candy.  With my limited patience, and Matt’s very limited patience, it will be just short of a miracle if this goes well.

After I gathered all the items on my list, I stopped by the book and magazine aisle.  Sometimes Walmart has a pretty good selection of books, so I thought I’d check it out.  I’m glad I did.

Quickly passing by the fiction and some nasty-looking romance novels, I found the reference/non-fiction/self-help/Christian book section.  Staring at me from the top shelf was Joel Osteen.  Dang! That dude has some big, bright, white teeth.  It also appears that he has a new book out titled Everyday a Friday:  How To Be Happier 7 Days a Week.  I read the text on the back cover and mentally added this book to my ‘see if the library has this’ list.  Everybody wants to be happy, right?  I’ll keep you posted.

On the next shelf down, I came across a paperback book that piqued my interest.  The Resolution for Men looked interesting.  I laid it open over the handle of my shopping cart and started to read.  As I ate one piece of deli popcorn chicken after another (please don’t tell my wife), I read more.  And more.  The words tugged at my heart and I knew I had to have this book.  Before I knew it, I had read several pages; enough to almost be late getting back to work.


Fuel for My Car.  Fuel for My Soul.

Yesterday morning I stopped for gas at one of the Indiana Toll Road service plazas.  At $3.23/gallon it made sense to take the time to fill up.  As I was getting back into my car, I looked out and saw a Pepperidge Farm semi trailer parked way ahead of me and off to the right.  The trailer had this message on it:

“Never have an ordinary day.”

Wow.  I’m telling you, God works in mysterious ways.  Indeed he does.  What a great slogan.  Not just for all the great things that Pepperidge Farm makes, mind you, but for life in general.  I liked the message so much that I put it on a digital sticky-note on my computer’s desktop.  It’s a great reminder that I should find greatness in each day.  And I should be the guy to help make my day a remarkable one.

I was walking down the hall with a colleague today and he remarked how he couldn’t believe that it was almost the middle of the month already.  I shook my head and said something like, “I know.  It seems like Halloween was eons ago.  And Thanksgiving feels like it was a long time ago, too.”  I laughed and continued:  “We’re getting old and time is passing by too quickly.”  He smiled and replied, “You got that right.”

Sometimes I Surprise Myself

And then, out of nowhere, I said to him:  “You have to take it all in, every day, or you lose out.”   He went back to his desk.  I made my way back upstairs to my cubicle-sweet-cubicle.  Honestly, I have no idea where that statement came from.  But it sure made sense to me.  And it makes even more sense to me as I write this blog post.  We have to stop stumbling through our daily routines.

We need to pay attention to what goes on around us.  We have to focus on the good things and let the not-so-good things go.  We need to hug our kids and tell them how much we love them.  We need to be thankful for all the things we have – big and little.  We need to appreciate the fact that not everyone has a cheerful disposition.  But that shouldn’t stop us from smiling and saying ‘hello’ and telling them to have a good day.

We need to spread a bit of Holiday cheer, don’t we?  In today’s crazy, hectic, negative-thought-filled world, we need to be a beacon of light.  It’s what Christmas is all about.



Photo credit:  © Andy Dean –


These are a few of my favorite things ( #1 and #2)

Over the next few days I’ll be posting a list of a few of my favorite things.  Some will be pretty mundane (like today).

My Favorite Things [#1 and#2]

Dawn dish washing liquid is our soap of choice.  Their ad slogan of ‘taking grease out of your way’ is true.  We’ve tried other brands over the years, but we always go back to Dawn.  It. Works.  We store ours in a small glass bottle with a pour-top.  This one just happens to be a bottle from an oil-and-vinegar set that we no longer use.

And…I REALLY like Handiwipes.  They are lightweight so they don’t hold a ton of water.  They dry quickly.  They stay ‘fresh’ longer than a standard dishcloth.  And…they last a LONG time.  You can toss them in the washer and dryer and use them over and over again.  That’s a good thing!

Have you seen the Winter Rose?

Winter Rose at Varner's Greenhouse Winter Rose at Varner’s Greenhouse

Do something a bit different this Holiday season.  In addition to the traditional poinsettia, check out the Winter Rose.

We found our first specimen at Varner’s Greenhouse over the weekend.

That place is PACKED with plants.  Row after row, greenhouse after greenhouse of beautiful poinsettias and other plants.  We’re definitely going back in the spring to get our annuals.

Sometimes…it’s the simple things


Seriously people, sometimes we just need to get away from the craziness of life and appreciate the mundane.

Call me crazy, but while I’m a high-tech, fast-paced guy…there are times that  fresh bubbles on a bar of handmade soap make me really happy.  Now is one of those times.

I was flipping through some old Flickr photos and found this one.  I love it.  So very simple.  Quiet.  Peaceful.  And after the crazy day that I had at work today, this is just what I need.

Now.  If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to make myself a cup of tea and do…nothing for awhile.

I hope you enjoyed your day.

Remember:  every so often it’s really important to stop and breathe.

Breakfast and Then On With the Day!

Microwave Egg Creation Microwave Egg Creation

It might look a bit funky, but let me assure you:  it is a great (easy + fast) breakfast.

You can prepare this several different ways:

  • Just eggs (2 or 3)
  • Eggs and vegetables (like I did this morning:  eggs + chopped green pepper)
  • Eggs and (pre-cooked) bacon or (pre-cooked ham)

I use a four-cup, glass measuring cup to make my microwave eggs.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 2 or 3 large eggs, broken
  • a splash of half-and-half (or milk)
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • a pinch or seasoned salt or (better yet) Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute
  • 1/4 cup pre-cooked chopped ham or pre-cooked bacon
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 1/2 a green pepper, chopped
  • a teaspoon of butter or margarine
  • waxed paper
  1. Break the eggs into the measuring cup
  2. Add the half-and-half, pepper and seasoned salt.
  3. Whip the eggs with a fork
  4. Add the ham or bacon, onion and green pepper
  5. Stir the mixture so all the ingredients are well-mixed
  6. Add a teaspoon of butter or margarine to the mixture (no need to mix)
  7. Cover the measuring cup with waxed paper
  8. Cook in the microwave (on high)  for about 3-1/2 minutes (or until eggs are done)

Check to be sure the eggs are done.  If not, microwave for 45 seconds more and check them again.

Note:  ham contains a large amount of water and may increase the cooking time by 1-3 minutes.  Just keep checking to make sure the eggs are done.

I’ve also added fresh spinach to my eggs for an extra dose of vitamins and minerals.

Try this recipe and let me know how you like it.  It’s super easy and really, really good!







Today at the Greenhouse


Saturday: Shopping + Church

Matt at Granger Church's cafe. Matt — At GCC’s Cafe — Before Church Tonight

It was an afternoon of shopping and snacks.  And then church.  And then dinner.  Food for our bodies and food for the soul.

Each year my wife and I give the boys some money to go shopping for Christmas gifts.  We provide them with a short list of gift ideas and the take it from there.  Sometimes, like this year, boring (very boring) items get on the list.  Like t-shirts and lunch bags.  But…that’s okay.

We started our day at Marshall’s, then it was on to Target.  Then a quick pick-me-up (Diet Pepsi, almonds and cashews)  at Target’s snack bar.

Then it was off to Michael’s.  My wife was looking for a basket to fill with some great-looking holiday garland she bought last week.  She found one!  And I bought some of those un-finished wooden picture frames.  I have ideas (I always have ideas) for some gift-giving projects of my own.  I also picked up a spool of ribbon to use on some tissue-holder projects that are in the works.

Next stop:  Best Buy.  The electronic mecca.  We’re doing some research (translated:  we will be making a purchase soon) on a new 32″ LCD HDTV.  We have a boxy, three-hundred pound set in our downstairs family room that we want to replace.  It’s a great space to hang out and just ‘chill out’ so we’re making some updates.  We found a new sofa (after looking for-ever) and it is supposed to be ready for delivery in mid-January.  We already have two really comfy recliners and some tables.  We’ll make it all come together, I’m sure.

After checking out some TV’s at Best Buy, we headed to church for the 5:00 service.  GCC is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary this weekend.  The service was full of music, videos and some great stories by Senior Pastor Mark Beeson.  We love Granger Church.  Here’s the link in case you want to check it out.

Our next-to-last stop before heading home was dinner at Bob Evans’.  Love those biscuits with butter and honey.

Final stop was Toys R Us.  My wife’s office participates in a program where we buy Christmas gifts for some kids that wouldn’t have a very merry Christmas without some help.  So…we picked up a few things for him.

Now..we’re at home.  Shoes are kicked off and I am T-I-R-E-D.  But…wanted to keep the blog posts active.  So there you have it.

Leave a comment, won’t you?

Beautiful Christmas Tag by Tim Holtz

Is this cool, or what?  Tim is one of the most creative papercrafters on earth.  Each year he comes up with twelve Christmas tags and shares the designs (and step-by-step instructions) with his audience.  This year is no different.

You really owe it to yourself to check out the fantastic stuff this guy makes.  Really.

And here’s the link to his post for all the instructions for Tag 2 (shown above).

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas


My wife decided (and I totally agreed) that we should try wreaths on all the first-floor windows this year.  Traditionally, we’ve hung greenery at the top of each window.

I really like the wreaths better.

What do you think?

PS:  My wife was in Indianapolis yesterday and stopped by Trader Joe’s while she was there.  She brought home some really great mini gingerbread man cookies with fudge icing.  Oh. My. Gosh.  They are great.  I highly recommend you get some.  (Assuming you have a TJs in your neck of the woods).

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